After a tortuous process, Buena Vista County and the City of Storm Lake have come to a meeting of the minds that helps everyone out. The county has been stuck with the rubble remains of what was supposed to be the Sunset Bay Condominiums along Lakeshore Drive next to the municipal golf course. This week, the county board of supervisors announced a settlement that will allow the property to be sold to the city, which in turn will hand it over to a developer.
The city initiated the deal that offers to pay off Craig Smith, who thought he bought the foreclosed property at a sheriff’s sale. The city pays him off for $100,000. Other taxing authorities that lost out on the dormant property will get $170,000 from the city coffers, which should cover their back taxes. Also, the city pays the county’s $23,000 in extraordinary legal fees made necessary by hiring a lawyer with expertise in foreclosed properties.
The county saw an opening that can satisfy local governments and get rid of Smith. The supervisors have helped clear the way for that prime three acres of property to be developed into residential condo units.
This is how the city and county can overcome differences and work together for the progress of Buena Vista County and Storm Lake.
The supervisors and city council should feel good about their successful cooperation.
We will feel a lot better when we see something productive done with that property. Just knowing that it will be in public hands soon is a relief.
And a note about transparency:
This thing was a complete muddle until BV County Attorney Dave Patton stepped in to bring some order and help everyone understand what the next step entails.
Patton has been patient with all parties. He has kept the public informed about the many curious twists and turns involving foreclosed properties in an urban renewal zone. He also has acted as something of a referee among diverse interests.
We would not be at the point of a settlement without good faith between the city and county. Patton played an important, probably vital, role in getting us to this point by talking with everyone and explaining reality to everyone.
That’s not easy when everyone has their heels dug in.
The county attorney defended the public interest. That’s his job. He did it well.
House Speaker John Boehner threw in the towel on immigration reform this week, acknowledging that there are not enough votes in his Republican caucus to move anything forward. He said that President Obama could not be trusted to enforce the law so why pass one? In fact, the Obama Administration has angered the Latino community for setting a modern record for deportations — more than the Bush, Clinton and Bush administrations combined.
Boehner had hoped to get something accomplished so 70% of the Latin and Asian vote doesn’t go to the Democratic presidential candidate, as it did for Obama.
Rep. Steve King, R-Kiron, who Boehner does not like, was the main impediment to any reform of immigration laws. He saw no strategic advantage to Republicans to pass a law that would make more than 10 million immigrants and their children legal residents of the USA.
Boehner backed down to the Anti-Brown caucus.
He is stuck with King because Establishment Republicans are afraid of him. Iowa bigshots from the GOP threatened a business-class candidate to run against King in a primary. That was hot air.
Democrats believe they cannot win the seat. If they did, Jim Mowrer and Joe Biden (who is said to have encouraged Mowrer to run) would be in Storm Lake so often we would get tired of seeing them.
There are Democrats who can win. Think Berkley Bedell in 1974. That was a lifetime ago. Think Darryl Beall, the optimistic and engaging state senator from Fort Dodge who has barely an enemy in the world. He is the sort of candidate who would work hard, excite the base and raise sufficient funds to win. Most important, a guy like Beall would campaign until his shoe leather was gone. That’s the kind of Democrat who is needed to unseat King, not someone who hangs in the sticks near Boone until the time is right.
Latinos need to stand up in Storm Lake and Denison and demand that the Democratic Party represent them, since Steve King won’t.